Giti’s widely reported investment in the car tyre plant in Chester County, South Carolina, which is currently in the ramp up phase is of particular importance.
Exclusive Interview: Chris Bloor
Continued profitable growth in both OE and replacement markets, the completion of the process of polarising their two brands, and, above all, the realisation and leveraging of their recent investment in car tyre manufacturing facilities in the USA will be the strategic priorities of Singapore based tyre maker Giti Tire for the foreseeable future. This was revealed by the company’s Executive Director, International Marketing and Sales, Chris Bloor, during an exclusive interview during the recent Asian Retread Conference in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Of particular importance, said Bloor, was the company’s widely reported investment in the car tyre plant in Chester County, South Carolina, which is currently in the ramp up phase.
“We consider this investment to be strategically wise given the current increased trade tensions around the world,” he explained. “Many Asian companies have talked about investing in North America, but there are not many who have actually done it. The US investment in of key strategic importance for us, and the completion of the ramp up phase is currently our number one priority,” he added. Giti are selling through a number of major channels in the USA including Wal Mart and Discount Tire.
In terms of global development, Giti are looking to continue their measured growth in many global markets, both in OE and replacement.
“We have made modest gains in the car tyre sector with some OE groups such as VW and PSA,” explained Bloor. “We want to continue to expand our OE presence in order to establish and develop our technical credibility and to underscore the Giti brand. In the passenger sector this has been achieved both in Europe and elsewhere. We are also starting to enter the CV market at OE level, and In Asia we are now OE on Volvo and Daimler as well as on Schmitz Cargobull for trailer tyres.”
In the meantime, Giti have continued the process of separating and positioning their two tyre brands, Giti and GT Radial, more precisely. Giti has been developed as the company’s premium brand, being also the brand used at OE level, with GT Radial being offered as a mid-range alternative. In Europe the company’s TBR range has now switched entirely to Giti.
Although Giti is developing these core company strategies proactively, Bloor is not slow to acknowledge the current challenges provided by the market, not least the heightening trade tensions in the market place and the growth of trade barriers on a global basis, which are forcing tyre manufacturers with production bases in China to consider relocating production to sites in other Asian countries. “The consumer will ultimately be the loser as a result of this trend with less choice and higher prices,” he commented. “Ultimately these are short term disturbances with no longer term benefit.
“We are an Asian tyre company with plants in China, Indonesia and the USA,” he continued, “so we can rebalance our manufacturing accordingly, but the cost of moving assets around is both high and inefficient, and the landscape remains unpredictable. Managing the situation requires high dexterity in supply chain management. We are already supplying tyres to Europe from Indonesia. Indeed, the plant is now supplying European customers with the vast majority of the tyres they had previously been supplied with from China.”
In terms of developments in other global markets, the picture is again one of controlled and steady growth.
“Our Middle East business in Dubai is now starting to bear fruit,” said Bloor. “We have a small team covering the Emirates, Saudi and Turkey, which is making satisfying progress. Meanwhile, we continue to have our established distribution channels in South America (mainly car). This is maturing well in spite of the geopolitical issues in Brazil. We feel South America remains a big opportunity.”
In Europe, Giti’s business is based in Hanover under Torsten Geherrman, and operates from Germany and the UK. In other markets the company uses nominated dealers. They also have an R&D company in Hanover under Stefan Fischer, whose mission is to produce concepts and adaptations for the European market. Testing is carried out using the facility at MIRA in Nuneaton in the UK.
Overall, the aim for the coming years can be described as “more of the same.”
“We live in uncertain times,” says Bloor, “so there are no big expansion plans or acquisitions on the cards.”
On the issue of the company’s continued perception as a Chinese brand in certain quarters, he says; “It’s not where it’s made, it’s who makes it. We rightly communicate the fact that we are a Singaporean global tyre player. We try very hard not to be perceived as a Chinese tyre company, because we’re not. People tend to use this argument as a lever to try and pressurise pricing. This is outdated logic, but it is a battle we have to fight every day.”
新加坡轮胎制造商佳通轮胎的未来策略重点，除了持续在原装配备市场和替换市场有利可图地增长和完成旗下两大品牌的分化过程外 ，更重要的是实现和利用他们近期在美国汽车制造厂的投资。该公司国际销售与市场执行董事（Chris Bloor）成博文在近日于马来西亚吉隆坡举办的亚洲翻新大会接受本刊访问时，透露上述的消息。
“在目前全球贸易局势加剧的时刻，我们认为这个投资是个明智的策略。许多亚洲公司都在谈论北美洲投资，但并没有多少人真正这么做。美国投资对我们而言是关键策略，而我们目前的当务之急是完成这个加速的阶段。”他说。佳通透过美国主要的渠道销商包括Wal Mart和Discount Tire来销售他们的产品。
与此同时，佳通将继续为他们的两大轮胎品牌–佳通和GT Radial进行分化和定位。佳通被发展成为该公司主要的优质品牌和原装配备品牌 ，而GT Radial则是中档替代产品。在欧洲，该公司的卡客车子午胎系列已经完全转换成佳通品牌。
至于其它的全球市场发展， 他说都在控制之内，并且全都在平稳地增长。“我们有个负责阿联酋、沙特及土耳其业务的小团队，他们的 进展令人满意。 此外，我们将继续在南美（主要是汽车），确立我们的经销渠道。尽管巴西仍然存有地缘政治问题 ，我们的经销渠道却发展良好。我们认为南美始终拥有巨大的商机。”
在欧洲方面，佳通透过汉诺威的Torsten Geherrman，在德国和英国运营。其他市场则采用授权代理。他们在汉诺威还拥有一家研发公司Stefan Fischer，主要的工作是为他们提供欧洲市场概念和适应性。轮胎测试则是在英国位于纳尼顿（Nuneaton）的MIRA 进行。
谈到该公司一直在某方面被当成一个中国品牌的课题时，他表示：“这无关它在哪里制造 ，而是与谁制造它有关。 我们透过正确的沟通，告诉人们我们是新加坡全球轮胎业者，我们努力改变别人对我们是家中国公司的认知，因为我们本来就不是。人们经常利用这点来打压我们的价格。这虽然已经是一个过时的逻辑，却是我们每天必须面对的战争。”